Paul Spragg Memorial winner Doctor Who - The World Tree cover art crop

The World Tree – Doctor Who Short Trips audio review

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For the last seven years, Doctor Who audio producers Big Finish have honoured the memory of their late colleague Paul Spragg with a scriptwriting competition.

The Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trip Opportunity invites submissions from new writers, with the winner chosen to be developed into a short story which is released, for free, each December.

Doctor Who - The World Tree cover art

This year’s winning entry is ‘The World Tree’ by Nick Slawicz.

“Nora Wicker is forgetful. Not big things – not yet, anyway. She remembers her address and where the shops are. She remembers people when they come to visit, no matter how rare that is. But she doesn’t remember where the bush with the red leaves in her garden came from – and she definitely doesn’t remember asking for a house call from the Eleventh Doctor.“

Running to just over forty minutes, the story is deliberately small-scale, but at the same time immense. Yes, there’s a sci-fi concept with a worldwide threat, but it is there as a backdrop to more personal issues. ‘The World Tree’ considers memory, aging and our attitudes towards them.

Nick Slawicz’s tale captures the eccentric spirit of the Eleventh Doctor perfectly, with the Time Lord’s failure to fully grasp the human condition. For her part, Lisa Bowerman creates an engaging character in Nora Wicker, who is formidable and incredibly perceptive.

This is a touching drama and well worth listening to. Mark Plastow’s stunning cover art showcases the story beautifully too.


As before, Big Finish have also released the script and original submission so we can see the story’s development.

Other Trips

Doctor Who: Short Trips: The World Tree is available free on download from Big Finish.

The six previous winners remain available to download too: You can check out our reviews of Forever FallenLandboundThe Last Day at WorkThe Best-Laid PlansFree Speech and The Lichyrwick Abomination.